Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Documentary (About Goni): Our Brand Is Crisis

I recently got this e-mail from the Bolivian American Chamber of Commerce listserv, worth blogging about, and worth seeing:

American-Style Campaign Tactics Reborn in Bolivia;
Rachel Boynton’s New Muckraking Documentary

Film Forum is pleased to present the U.S. theatrical premiere of Rachel Boynton’s OUR BRAND IS CRISIS, beginning Wednesday, March 1, 2006. For decades, U.S. strategists-for-hire have been quietly influencing the opinions of voters and the messages of candidates in elections around the world. OUR BRAND IS CRISIS is an astounding look at one of their campaigns and its dramatic aftermath.

The filmmaker follows a crack team of Democratic political consultants, including James Carville, Tad Devine and Jeremy Rosner, as they strategize for a struggling presidential candidate in Bolivia. This thrilling adventure is a fly-on-the-wall account of the machinations behind the turbulent re- campaign of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (“Goni”). In a country facing a calamitous economic crisis, Goni ¾ a wealthy businessman who privatized Bolivia's economy and created social security (when he was president in the mid-‘90s) ¾ isn't a popular candidate. Yet the consultants devise a U.S.-style campaign marked by savvy media techniques and negative ads, emphasizing a single, strong message. They reintroduce Goni as an appealing brand in an attempt to win an election whose aftermath is nothing short of devastating.

Recently Bolivia’s new leftist president, Evo Morales, has put the country back in front page news. Morales, previously a leader of the coca leaf-growers’ union, became the nation’s first indigenous leader in December. Boynton’s film is both a terrific case study in the events leading up to Morales’s win and a shocking example of how U.S. marketing strategies can affect the spreading of "our brand of democracy" overseas.

COME SEE THE FILM DURING IT'S OPENING WEEKEND, Wednesday, March 1- Sunday, March 5, at Film Forum, West Houston Street (West of 6th Avenue), with screenings daily at 1:00, 2:50, 4:40, 6:30, 8:20, 10:10. Rachel Boynton will be doing a Q&A after the 8:20 screening on Wednesday, March 1. The film is limited to a 2-week run.

“A riveting and intellectually provocative tale of clashing ethics and ideologies, as well as a portrait of a country in the midst of of profound conflict and suffering.”
Matthew Ross, Filmmaker Magazine

“The resonance of (the film) is flabbergasting… Riveting through and through, OUR BRAND IS CRISIS unravels like a political thriller.
Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

OUR BRAND IS CRISIS (2005, 87 mins.) Produced and directed by Rachel Boynton. Cinematography: Tom Hurwitz, Michael Anderson, Christine Burrill, Jerry Risius. Sound: Sergio Claros, Boynton. Editing: Boynton, Jennifer L. Robinson. Music: Marcelo Zarvos. Executive Producers: Steven Shainberg, Robert Kravis, Sanders Goodstein. USA. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. A Koch Lorber Release.

See what the New York Times has to say about it by clicking here, also see the IMDb entry here.

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Anonymous said...

Isn't this the HBO documentary that was censored in Bolivia, but played everywherelse?

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the HBO documentary that was censored in Bolivia, but played everywherelse?

Jonathan said...

I doubt it, as far as I know this hasn't been aired in any channel yet, though the dvd rights are already sold. On a related note for those not familiar, James Carville is the famous/notorious Clinton campaign operator, and his firm is the one refered in the HBO series K-Street.